Movie Making 101

MOVIE MAKER: A simple guide to creating your own online videos

THE video-web is an exciting place to be involved in these days, particularly because it is constantly evolving and simply brimming with potential. If you have untapped creative juices, or any original video-related ideas, there is nothing stopping you from making a contribution to the growing videosphere.

If you have watched any of my videos, you will be intrigued to know that they were all created using Microsoft Movie Maker – a free program that comes standard with any Windows operating system. It should be right under “all programs” from your start menu.

—–> Capturing video

  • The first step to producing an aesthetically pleasing video is capturing good footage to work with. Whether you are using a handycam or a cellphone to film, ensure that you hold the device as still as possible and get all of your shots in frame.
  • Each shot should also be of appropriate length. A good guideline is to ensure that you have at least 10 seconds of still footage for each shot. Film for longer if you feel a little shaky during filming or if the scene warrants a greater length.
  • Cutaway shots are essential for keeping your video enticing. If you’re shooting an event, for example, film at different angles and alternate between long shots, side shots and close-ups.
  • Once you have all your footage, connect your device to a PC using a USB cable. Create a suitably named folder on your desktop and copy and paste all your clips from your device to your computer.
  • I find it useful to watch each clip a few times to decide which ones I want to use and then rename these appropriately. Delete poor quality and unsuitable clips.

–> Simple editing techniques with Movie Maker
Open Movie Maker and import all your clips from the folder you have created. (All the tools are along the left-hand side of the programme). Watch the clips again in Movie Maker to get a better idea of which ones you’re going to use and in what order.

Whip out your trusty notepad and pen and write down the names of the clips you want to use, a description for each if necessary, and the length of each. Then rank them according to how you would like your video to flow.

Along the bottom of Movie Maker are options for switching between a timeline view and a storyboard view. Stick to the timeline view for accuracy. Simply drag your first clip on to the timeline to begin editing.

Movie Maker

Movie Maker has a very user-friendly interface with the majority of the tools along the left-hand side of the programme. It also has an extensive help section (“Movie Making Tips”) if you get stuck. Movie making may seem difficult at first, but like any new program, practice makes perfect.

Movie Maker has a very user-friendly interface with the majority of the tools along the left-hand side of the programme. It also has an extensive help section (“Movie Making Tips”) if you get stuck. Movie making may seem difficult at first, but like any new program, practice makes perfect.

The most useful editing tool for any video-editing program is the cut or “split” tool, located under the video-screening box. Play the clip and pause it where you want to make a cut and delete all the unwanted bits.

You can zoom in for better accuracy and have the option of dragging a clip inwards from the end to make it shorter. This has the same effect as a cut and is useful if you make a mistake or wish to make the clip longer again at a later stage.

Continue this process with all your clips and re-arrange them as you see fit simply by dragging them along your timeline.

–> Transitions in Movie Maker
Transitions are the fades, wipes and other effects that occur between clips. There are several of these available under the “effects tool”. However, I personally prefer to keep things simple and stick to simple fade-ins and fade-outs.

You can create these by simply right clicking on a clip. One neat trick, however, is to blend clips into one another – something I discovered completely by accident. To create said blends simply drag one clip a little over another. Voila!

There are quite a few transitions at your disposal – some great, and some really cliché. Experiment to see which ones tickle your fancy and use whichever one’s you want. I don’t judge.

–> Audio in Movie Maker
No video is complete without decent audio. You should have natural sounds and ambience within your original footage, which is visible along the timeline.

You can separate this audio from a clip by dragging it to the audio layer. This is useful when you make lots of cuts and want your audio to flow naturally.

However, if you are not so set on the audio available to you, you can import your own, such as songs (bedding tracks) in mp3 format. There is also an option of importing pictures into Movie Maker along the same toolbar on the left-hand side.

When you place your desired audio beneath a clip, ensure that you mute the clips or simply lower the volume of the audio belonging to them. You can do this by clicking on “clip -> audio” found along the top tool bar.

When interviewing someone, it is always great to cut to different shots while the person speaks. Every 10 seconds or so is a good guide, but you can creatively time this to cut to shots of what the person is speaking about at different stages.

When creating such a video interview, first edit the entire interview clip into the segments you wish to use. Then edit the cutaway shots you wish to integrate into your video and mute (or lower the volume) of these. Place these clips where desired and simply drag the interview segments beneath them — place only the audio there.

Edit them to fit perfectly by zooming in and dragging both the interviewee audio and the cutaway shot to an equal length. Your video interview should now flow smoothly with cutaway shots in between!

–> Publishing & uploading with Movie Maker
Once you’re smiling and satisfied with your final version of your video, publish/save it to your computer. Publish for “best quality for playback on this computer” and choose a folder to place it in.

Video hosting websites are accepting huge uploads these days so there’s no need to save your video in a smaller format, unless, of course, you’ve created an epic and your video file size is massive.

Upload your video to YouTube, MyVideo or Zoopy, or all three if you wish. Give it a title, an enticing description and a few tags and offer your production to the online world.

Happy video making!

Some useful video making resources
Download Movie Maker 2.6

** More Online Tips & Tricks **


Galen (name), meaning: "Curious One". A lover of language, human ingenuity and the forces of the universe. Hugely drawn towards the mysterious and unknown. Regular laughter and escapism essential.

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